Alexander Babbie loves life. He mentors young children, helps out first-graders in Faith Formation, sings in the choir, participates in sports, loves reading and writing, and looks forward to a future of guiding young minds. He does all this despite a life that started out difficult at birth. (Above: Alexander Babbie, right, with his brother Sebastian and mother Michelle.)
You’re at senior at Edmeston Central School, which is a small school district. What do you like about attending a smaller school?
Well, it’s nice because I get to actually know all of my teachers, and they and I can have a one-on-one relationship. It also means that we only have one bus run, so I, as a senior, ride the bus with preschool students, and as such, I’ve become a model for them.
You also are part of the school’s mentoring program. What exactly is the program?
Edmeston’s mentoring program is a bit of a Big Brother-Big Sister program. I eat lunch with my mentee every Friday, and he and I spend the time talking, and I help him out with whatever he needs (and both of us get a friend).
Reading and writing are a big part of your life. What kinds of things do you read and what kind of writing do you do?
I’ll read pretty much everything I can get my hands on, and if it’s in Spanish, even better! English is my first language, but I want to learn as much Spanish as I can. As for my writing, I’m an amateur novelist, and I love to write because it allows me to vent. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated or anxious, anything like that, I can open up the file and write away. Problem solved.
In addition to exercising your mind, you’re also active in sports, running track. What do you like about that sport?
It gets me out of the house and lets me do something other than spending time doing homework (and being a senior taking almost solely college classes, there’s a lot of that). Plus it’s great exercise.
You also root for the Chicago Cubs. How did you end up liking the Cubbies?
That’s an interesting story, actually. Most of my family likes either New York or Boston, so I’m the odd one out. Anyways, I didn’t really pay much attention until 2016, when I opened up the newspaper and realized that the Cubs were in the World Series, and down 3-1. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog, and, well, the Cubs seemed that team to me (and 108 years of waiting only helped the case). I found myself cheering for the team, and they won. Hooray! After that, I thought that I was just going to go back to watching every team, but I found myself watching the Cubs all the time.
In our parish, you help out in first grade Faith Formation class. What do you like most about the class and working with young children?
I want to be an elementary counselor when I’m out of college, so helping out in first grade Faith Formation is great experience, and I get to help others (also a great experience).
You also sing in the choir. How did you get involved in music ministry and what do you like most about it?
As my family can attest, I have a mind like a jukebox — one song, then another and another running through it, and I love to sing as much as I can. For a while, I was part of my school choir, but schedule issues meant I had to choose art or music. I chose art and dropped choir, and for a year or so, that was that. Eventually, someone came up to the front of church at the end of one Mass and said that the choir needed people, and there I found myself. I love it because I get to sing, which, as I said, I love doing, and it helps me appreciate Mass more.
Is there one person who is an inspiration to you?
I don’t know how I’d be able to choose, there are so many, but if I have to choose, it’s a toss-up between my mom, Michelle; my Nonna; Angie; and Dr. Tovar-Spinoza at Upstate Medical Hospital out in Syracuse, who’s saved my life more times that I can count. (No, seriously, I’ve lost track of how many times.) Thank you all for believing in me.
You say the doctor saved your life many times. Please explain?
I was born with congenital hydrocephalus. In other words, my brain can’t drain out the fluid it produces. As such, when I was 3 months old, I had a shunt placed in my skull to help drain the fluid, and that lasted until I was 14 years old, at which point I needed a revision, meaning that I needed it replaced. That shunt lasted a year, and then the new one six months, then three, one, two weeks — you get the idea. It finally was solved when I had “hinge plates,” for lack of a better term, placed in my head to give my brain the extra space it needs. Every neurosurgeon at Upstate Medical Hospital has taken their turn replacing my shunt, but it was Dr. Tovar-Spinoza who finally figured out how to solve the issue for good, and for that, I’m more than thankful, because no shunt means that I die. Not a pleasant experience, but, well, such is life. I’m still alive and doing well, so I think I’m good (fingers crossed.).
How does your faith help you?
More than anything, it has taught me (and continues to teach me) how to be the best person that I can be.
What’s the best part about Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament?
Faith Formation, Father Jim’s jokes, singing in the choir, and last but not least, pizza fritta!
What are your plans for the future?
My current plans for the future involve a bachelor’s in psychology and a master of social work so that I can become a school counselor, and continue mentoring like I do today.
Education: Senior at Edmeston Central School.
Family: My mom, Michelle; my dad, Shannon; my brother, Sebastian.
Things you like to do: Read, write, root for the Chicago Cubs.
Favorite movie: “Zootopia.”
Favorite book: I read too much, so it’s hard to pick. Anything I can get my hands on.
Favorite TV show: I don’t really watch TV (no cable in West Edmeston).
Favorite musician: Sugarland, Queen and any musical soundtrack.